Lucca Birth Home Birth Home Giacomo Puccini was born in this house, at 2.00 am in the night of 22 December, 1858, and the next day – with a special permit, perhaps because in danger of death – he was christened with the names of Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele and Secondo Maria. Indeed, he was the last musician of a singular dynasty that had dominated the musical life of Lucca in a span of a century and a half. This is the direct lineage: Giacomo senior (Celle dei Puccini, 1712 – Lucca, 1781), Antonio (Lucca, 1747 – Lucca, 1832), Domenico (Lucca, 1772 – Lucca, 1815), Michele (Lucca, 1813 – Lucca, 1864 ), Giacomo (Lucca, 1858 – Brussels, 1924). One can then truly say that Giacomo Puccini summarizes in himself, as well as family inheritance, the glorious musical tradition of Lucca as well. At the time of his birth his parents lived in this house, Michele and Albina Magi, with his grandmother Angela Cerù, his sisters Otilia, Tomaide (the third born, Temi, had lived less than a year), Maria Nitteti, Iginia, and a “servant” a certain Assunta Menconi. A year later his other sister Ramelde was to be born, and another “servant” taken, Carola Martinelli, and later on Macrina was born and finally, after the death of his father, Michele junior. The Puccini family, which in the first half of the 18th century had settled in a house in Lucca in Via Pozzotorelli, today’s Via Vittorio Veneto, had moved to corte S. Lorenzo around 1815, shortly after the sudden and premature death of Domenico, grandfather of Giacomo and fine opera composer. The young widow, Angela Cerù, preferred it so, moving closer to her family of origin, which lived in the same building. The Cerù family – in particular Nicolao, cousin of his father Michele – was to play an important role in the forming years of Giacomo. The apartment is quite large but scarcely sufficient for a large family like Giacomo’s (in which everyone, at least the father and children, made music). As then it has two entrances on the same landing, as evidenced by a letter of 1817 by Antonio, great-grandfather of Giacomo. The layout of the rooms was at that time the same as is on view today (thanks to the restoration of 2011). It is in this house that Giacomo lived his childhood years, before moving to Milan to continue his studies (1880). After the death of his mother Albina (17 July 1884) the house was rented. In a time of great economic hardship, Giacomo and Michele junior, owners of the house thanks to the waiver of inheritance in their favour by the sisters, sold the house (in September 1889) to Raffaello Franceschini, husband of Giacomo’s sister Ramelde. They included a special clause in the contract that allowed them to repurchase it within five years. At the end of this period, after the success of Manon Lescaut had led to a radical change in his economic situation, Giacomo was finally able to buy back his father’s house. The joy of redemption, however, cannot be shared with his brother Michele, who died in the meantime (1891) in Brazil. Since 1894 the house continued to belong to Giacomo Puccini, who still rented it out. On the outside wall of the house on Via Di Poggio, visitors can see a commemorative plaque, which bears the following inscription: From a long line of musicians Worthy of the living tradition of the homeland Here was born on December 22, 1858 GIACOMO PUCCINI Who to the new voices of life Tuned shrewd notes of truth and grace Reaffirming with blunt agile forms The nationality of art In its primacy of glory in the world. The city proud of him On the thirtieth day after his death 29 December, 1924 Chiesa dei SS. Paolino e Donato Chiesa dei SS. Paolino e Donato The Church of SS. Paolino and Donato was the parish church of the Puccini family which lived nearby. For this reason, the archives contain important documentation, which also covers the Puccini family: the so-called states of souls – compiled by the pastors of the time in Lent every year when blessing the houses – systematically record family situations, including temporary absences of any family member; The Books of the Dead provide the dates of the various deaths, and often information on the place of burial. It can be said that in this church Giacomo Puccini had his baptism as a composer: on 12 July, 1877, the feast of S. Paolino, in a church-service largely played by the students of the Istituto Musicale “G. Pacini”, his Mottetto for baritone, chorus for 4 voices and orchestra was performed. The Mottetto was clearly very much appreciated, as it was repeated the following year along with a new creed, which was also very much appreciated. On 12 July, 1880 the performance of a “great service” – the Mass for 4 voices with orchestra, and the aforementioned Mottetto inserted after the Credo– ratified the completion of his studies at the local Institute of Music. The citizens of Lucca had the confirmation that Puccini, heir of a glorious family, could become a composer such “as to be pointed out as one of the best of his contemporaries”. In fact, the Mass is his first masterpiece, and was well etched in the memory of the composer, who repeatedly drew from it, even for his more important theatrical works: see the Agnus Dei which becomes the Madrigal in Act II of Manon Lescaut. Church of S. Romano Church of S. Romano The founder of the Puccini dynasty, Giacomo senior, born in Celle dei Puccini in 1712, having achieved the widest affirmation in the field of music in town (he held the offices of Maestro della Cappella di Palazzo della Repubblica Lucchese from 1739 and was organist of the Cattedrale di San Martino from 1740), as well as being organist or choirmaster in the main churches of Lucca) in 1774 bought for himself and his heirs a tomb in the Church of San Romano. Furthermore it was natural that an employee of the State of Lucca should wish to be buried in the church where he fulfilled part of his professional offices, as will also happen to his son Antonio. The location of the burial place nevertheless strikes us, in the centre of the church, between the two organs. The inscription reads: JACOBUS PUCCINI CIVIS LUCENSIS SIBI SUISQUE QUIETIS LOCUM ELEGIT A.N. MDCCLXXIV The tomb received, in addition to Giacomo senior (1781) and his widow Angela Piccinini (1794), three of his grandchildren – the children of Antonio – Angela Margherita (1775), Margherita Maria Rosalba Diana (1792) and one registered as NN, who was not even baptized in time. Teatro del Giglio Teatro del Giglio The main theatre in the city is an extraordinary and rare example of a functioning public theatre, in the same building almost continuously for more than three centuries. Built at the expense and at the behest of the Republic, it was inaugurated in 1675 and was used regularly as a Public Theatre – despite a fire and some ailments – until the beginning of the 19th century (it had assumed the name of Teatro Nazionale a short time earlier), when substantial restoration work was required (according to the project of Giovanni Lazzarini), which did not distort the original design. Since August 1819, the theatre, under the name of Teatro del Giglio, enjoyed its most glorious season, which lasted for at least thirty years, offering Lucca performances of excellent level. When Giacomo Puccini lived in Lucca, the seasons were less remarkable, but that does not mean that the Teatro del Giglio, along with the Teatro Pantera and the Teatro Goldoni (the old Teatro Castiglioncelli) could not offer young musicians – provided they could always pay the ticket – the opportunity to get in touch with several works. By way of example, we can list some of the titles of works performed between 1858 (the year of his birth) and 1880 (the year of his departure for Milan), grouped by author and in more or less chronological order, without indicating the repetitions: Verdi: Il trovatore, La traviata, Macbeth, I due Foscari, Un ballo in maschera, Luisa Miller, Nabucco, I lombardi alla prima crociata, Ernani, Rigoletto, I vespri siciliani and La forza del destino. Bellini: I puritani, La sonnambula and Norma. Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia, L’italiana in Algeri, Cenerentola, Matilde di Shabran and Guglielmo Tell. Donizetti: Gemma di Vergy, Lucrezia Borgia, Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Pasquale, Roberto Devereux, Belisario, L’elisir d’amore, Maria di Rohan, Il campanello, Poliuto, Linda di Chamounix and La favorita. Mercadante: Il giuramento and La vestale. Flotow: Marta. Pacini: Saffo. Mozart: Don Giovanni. Gounod: Faust. Cimarosa: Giannina e Bernardone and Il matrimonio segreto. Gomes: Il Guarany. In the Spring of 1878, when he was still a student at the Istituto Musicale “G.Pacini,” Giacomo Puccini was able to perform at the Teatro del Giglio as a piano accompanist of a young emerging singer, showing “rare ability”. Puccini returned some years later to the Teatro del Giglio to present his works – from Edgar to La fanciulla del West – with increasingly more than brilliant results, rather triumphant. Puccini “attended” the representation, or followed the rehearsals to ensure that the level was as high as possible, and then he was present at the first performance, and some of the following, in particular at the so-called “evenings of honour” during which the city showed him affection, appreciation and pride for such an illustrious native son. The dates of his debuts in Lucca: Edgar, 5 September 1891; Manon Lescaut, 3 September 1893; La bohème, 5 September 1896; Tosca, 3 September 1900; Madama Butterfly, 8 September 1907; La fanciulla del West, 10 September 1911. Other operas by Puccini are staged to alternate with debuts, continuing until 1924. The theatre houses a bas-relief by the sculptor Francesco Petroni, which was inaugurated in 1911, to mark the staging of La fanciulla del West, which bears a dedication: “Lucca to Giacomo Puccini, September MCMXI”. It may be added that in 1923 the Mayor of Lucca established a Committee for the renovation of the Teatro del Giglio, under the chairmanship of Giacomo Puccini, who felt the need for Lucca to have a theatre “adapted to modern needs”, and that could contribute with its experience as one of the most important theatres in the world. The Committee met several times and various proposals were put forward, from enlarging to demolishing the theatre, as far as the construction of a new theatre outside the city walls. The meetings continued even after the death of Puccini, but to no avail. It can also be added that even the current structure of the theatre in a sense bears the imprint of Giacomo Puccini: in fact the gallery, which interrupts the fourth tier of boxes, as it was defined in 1819 on the basis of the previous structure, was built precisely in 1958, to coincide with the celebrations to mark the centenary of his birth. The Teatro del Giglio, recognized in 1985 as a “Theatre of tradition” continues its work with opera and dance seasons, seasons of plays, concerts and training activities. Battistero dei SS. Giovanni e Reparata Battistero dei SS. Giovanni e Reparata The Baptistery of SS. Giovanni e Reparata can be regarded as a place of predestination: on 18 February, 1864, during the solemn funeral of his father Michele, who died just fifty years old after a short illness on 23 January, Giovanni Pacini delivered the funeral oration. The mention of relatives overcome with grief could not be missed, and even the claim that a musical dynasty so glorious was destined to be continued, “You, dear brothers, to which the meaning of Christian charity so strongly speaks to the heart, shall well turn a thought to the octogenarian mother [Angela Cerù], such a desolate bride [Albina Magi], six tender little girls [the sisters Otilia, Tomaide, Nitteti, Iginia, Ramelde and Macrina], to a lad [Giacomo obviously], only surviving heir to that glory [his brother Michele was to be born on 19 April of that year], which his ancestors well deserved in this harmonic art, and that maybe he one day can revive”. Cattedrale di S. Martino Cattedrale di S. Martino Giacomo Puccini, after having received baptism in his Birth Home with special authorization, was conducted to the Cathedral for the completion of baptismal rites. In this same Cathedral all his ancestors had performed a considerable part of their activity, as organists, composers and conductors. It is worth remembering that the church was then equipped with two wonderful instruments, today unfortunately dismantled, of which the choirs and the front pipes are still visible, one of the 15th century by Domenico di Lorenzo in cornu epistolae – to the right as you look at the high altar – the other of the 17th century by Cosimo and Andrea Ravani in cornu evangelii – to the left. And in this very Cathedral, for the Holy Cross in 1872, the young Giacomo made his professional debut as an assistant of the second chorus, for a fee of 3.72 liras. The programme included a Mottettone by his father Michele, with his uncle Fortunato Magi as conductor. Despite the many demands made by his mother Albina, Giacomo was never able to obtain the office of organist, held continuously by a Puccini for 124 years – from 1740 until the death of his father Michele in 1864 – for the poor judgment of the members of a commission, to whom the Opera di S. Croce had delegated the decision. Becoming famous and far from Lucca, Puccini always remembered his first attendances and did not lack interest in the music that was performed. He spoke precisely about those with his friend Gustavo Giovannetti and in September 1887 wrote to his brother-in-law Raffaello Franceschini, with his usual ability to mix the sacred and the profane: “Tell me what’s new in Lucca and what music will be performed for Santa Croce and tell me everything that has happened, deaths, rapes, robberies, adulteries and cuckolds”. Musical Institute Musical Institute Lucca has had an Music Institute since 1842, the year in which it was finally established by Giovanni Pacini, with the consent and the protection of the Duke Carlo Lodovico. Michele Puccini, Giacomo’s father, from 1843 onwards had performed various duties there and also held various teaching posts, until becoming Director in 1862, as well as a teacher of Counterpoint and Composition. Giacomo began his career there in 1868 as a student of violin (Augusto Michelangeli), piano (Alessandro Giovannetti) and vocalization (Carlo Angeloni)classes. Later he was also to attend classes of practical harmony (Fortunato Magi) and organ (Fortunato Magi, and later Carlo Giorgi), and finally composition and counterpoint (Carlo Angeloni). It is noteworthy that Michelangeli, Magi and Angeloni had been students of Michele Puccini. The course was to end in 1880 with a diploma in composition. Contrary to the widespread stereotype of a poor and undisciplined student, we now know that the school career of Puccini at the Music Institute was studded with prizes. The Music Institute (now “L. Boccherini”) retains many memories of Giacomo Puccini: the piano and the harmonium on which he took lessons, a valuable collection of early compositions (autographs and copies) and some curious notebooks used at the Milan Conservatory (where Puccini continued his studies from 1880 to 1883). The Institute also owns most of the compositions of Giacomo’s ancestors, which in 1891 he generously “donated to the musical archive of the Pacini Institute […] wishing that this music be safe and under a watchful safeguard”. This far-sighted and generous gesture is certainly to be connected with the success of Edgar at the Teatro del Giglio and the recognition that the city attributed to the composer. The Istituto Musicale “G.Pacini”, when Puccini attended it, was situated in Piazza S. Maria Forisportam, in the premises of the old monastery attached to the church, now the site of the primary school “G. Pascoli”. Church of S. Pietro Somaldi Church of S. Pietro Somaldi The early biographers report that Giacomo Puccini, before moving to Milan to complete his studies, played the organ at various churches in Lucca, such as S. Pietro Somaldi, S. Paolino, S. Maria dei Servi, S. Girolamo and the parish church of Mutigliano, just outside the city: tasks which his Maestro Carlo Angeloni would have given him, taking into account the difficult family situation of his young student. As regards S. Pietro Somaldi it should be noted that his great-grandfather Antonio, his grandfather Domenico and later his father Michele had already given regular service as organists and masters of the choir. The organ of S.Pietro Somaldi is a most valuable 17th century instrument, made by a famous organ builder from Lucca, Domenico Cacioli and has always aroused admiration in all the organists who played it. Puccini retained a vivid memory of this organ, even when the opera world had completely absorbed his creativity: witness a signature he affixed to the wind chest at the beginning of the 20th century, after the instrument’s restoration, completed in an exemplary manner by Filippo Tronci, retaining much of the original material. It is not at all improbable, indeed, that it was precisely Puccini who suggested to the ecclesiastical authorities the name of Tronci to be entrusted with the restoration: it does not seem to be a pure coincidence that at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome, where the world premiere of Tosca had been staged (1900), there was an instrument created by the same Tronci and on the other hand an instrument made by another member of the Tronci family existed in Rome precisely in S. Andrea della Valle (where the first act of Tosca is set). Moreover, in 1899, Giuseppe Verdi had also commissioned Filippo Tronci to restore the organ of the Roncole which he played as a boy, certain that, in the expert and respectful hands of that organ maker “his” instrument would have preserved its original features. Today, when the practice applies of conservation and restoration of historic organs, we can probably be grateful to Puccini for saving a valuable instrument. Caffè Di Simo già Caselli Caffè Di Simo già Caselli In this caffé you can really say that in the years between the late 19th and early 20th centuries a true “concert of friendships” was created as remembered by the plaque placed in 1958 by the owners at that time, Angelo Ricci and Fernando Pieri: THIS CAFFÉ IN WHICH THE ENTHUSIASM OF THE RISORGIMENTO ECHOED WELCOMED AT THE END OF THE 19TH CENTURY AND AT THE BEGINNING OF OUR CENTURY POETS WRITERS AND ARTISTS FRIENDS OF THE GROCER PATRON OF THE ARTS ALFREDO CASELLI SUCH AS GIOVANNI PASCOLI GIUSEPPE GIACOSA ALFREDO CATALANI GIACOMO PUCCINI PIETRO MASCAGNI LIBERO ANDREOTTI AND LORENZO VIANI Amphitryon and promoter of the harmonic concert was Alfredo Caselli, an amazing figure, generous friend and learned confidant of great artists, as well as being a grocer. His figure, to whom in the 1930s the new owner Giulio Di Simo entitled an award for literature, the visual arts and music, awaits a just revaluation. Monastero della Visitazione, Vicopelago Monastero della Visitazione, Vicopelago The Convent where Iginia Puccini (1856-1922) was an Augustinian nun, taking the name suor Giulia Enrichetta, was abandoned by the order at the end of the 1990s. When there were still cloistered nuns, it was a glimpse of an environment to be observed and studied to recreate the environment of Suor Angelica. Some report that Giacomo had his sister and the other nuns listen to a preview of Suor Angelica, singing and accompanying himself on the organ, but it is not easy to confirm news like this, because often the episodes whose memory is handed down by one visitor to another acquire new details. It is known for certain that the relationship between Puccini and his sister was very close and that Iginia, even for the liturgical needs of the Convent, was well advanced in musical experience and gladly accepted the gifts of his brother, especially the parcels of organ music, published by Ricordi, that he arranged to have sent to her. The nuns kept a harmonium made by “Tedeschi & Raffael / Milan” given by Giacomo to Iginia on 5 January, 1921 (tradition has it that Puccini had donated another harmonium to the Convent of S.Nicolao – home of the Augustinians before Vicopelago – many years earlier, in memory of his mother Albina), a score of La fanciulla del West autographed with a dedication “to my little nun Iginia affectionately Giacomo Torre del Lago 23 January 911”, documents that bore witness to the composer’s financial involvement in charities sponsored by the nuns, letters of Iginia in the role of mother Superior. There was also a small but interesting collection of manuscript music for female voices and organ, or organ alone, by authors of Lucca (including Michele and Domenico Puccini), coming mostly from the Convent of S.Nicolao, didactic works and a collection of “chamber” music for piano published in the 19th century, transcriptions and fantasies from operas, but also dance pieces: evidently musical interests in the convent were not confined exclusively to the liturgy! Mutigliano Mutigliano In Mutigliano, a small town across the river Serchio at the beginning of the Val Freddana, Giacomo Puccini stayed as a boy, as a guest of the parish priest, Don Giacinto Cantoni. He also performed one of his first professional activities in the parish church of SS. Ippolito e Cassiano, where he played the organ (the work of Michelangelo Crudeli, 1784) already in 1872, instructed the choir and rehearsed liturgical music. Even after these experiences were completed (late 70s), Puccini kept alive his ties with the town, because of close friendships with several people and the presence in Mutigliano at different times of two priests: canon Roderigo Biagini (cousin of Giacomo, son of Chiara Puccini, sister of his father Michele) and Dante Del Fiorentino, who was to exercise his ministry later also in Torre del Lago (he moved to the United States, and was to be one of the first biographers and scholars of Puccini). In the years of his great successes, Giacomo sometimes remembered that pleasant environment: in 1897 he wrote to his friend Alfredo Caselli from London: “I am a friend of Zola, Sardou and Daudet: who would have thought that eh? the mummer organist of Mutigliano?” and in 1908 to his sister Ramelde from Egypt, about the Nile: “It is nothing but the Freddana enlarged”.